Chicago Cubs: Options aplenty next offseason outside of Bryce Harper
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs: Here’s your long-term ninth-inning answer
The last two seasons, the Cubs used rentals or one-year players to close in Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis. At season’s end, Chapman headed back to New York and, more recently, Wade Davis signed a record deal with the Colorado Rockies.
This year, Chicago appears poised to go with unproven, yet talented, right-hander Brandon Morrow. Last season, the Dodgers setup man put together the best season of his career and pitch in all seven games of the Fall Classic, as well.
In 45 games, he put up a 1.55 FIP to go along with an incredible 5.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Morrow averaged north of 10 strikeouts per nine and his 204 ERA+ tells the rest of the tale pretty aptly. Injuries, however, have been a major issue in his career and the Cubs are banking on him staying healthy in 2018.
A win-win for Morrow and Kimbrel
Adding Kimbrel next offseason could allow Chicago to move Morrow back into a setup role. Meanwhile, the current Red Sox closer gives you the best ninth-inning arm in the league to lock things up.
Last season in Boston, Kimbrel appeared in 67 games for the Red Sox, finishing out 51 contests. He was absolutely dominant – with a near-identical 1.43 ERA and 1.42 FIP. His 0.681 WHIP marked the second-lowest mark of his big-league career.
The best part of it all? The right-hander turns 30 this season – so he should, in theory, have plenty of gas left in the tank. To bring him in, the Cubs will undoubtedly need to open up the checkbook in a big way. But doing so could answer the ninth-inning question for years to come.